Guest Blogger: Christine Kilbride, ChickMaster
‘Tis the season…for college applications! Many high school seniors are currently navigating the grueling college admissions process: writing essays, requesting recommendation letters, deciding where to apply and choosing a major.
Choosing a major may seem like the least daunting task on the list – you can always change it, right? Well technically you can, but changing academic majors can lead to costly extra semesters or even the need to transfer to another school.
So where should you start? Statistically, the most popular majors include Nursing, Education, Business, Psychology and Communications. If none of those options appeal to you – don’t fret; there’s a growing sector that you may not have considered for your future career: agriculture. And particularly, poultry science.
What makes Poultry Science a viable career path?
The poultry industry is on the rise, employing 1.8 million people in the production and processing of chickens and 1.4 million in supplier industries. The economic impact of the poultry industry is valued at almost $470 billion.
Additionally, as of 2012, chicken finally surpassed beef as the most popular meat in the U.S. In the 1950’s, Americans only ate 16 pounds of chicken per year, compared to 60 pounds today.
Long story short, people have to eat – and chicken is what they’re eating! Although poultry science is off the beaten path of typical academic choices, the payoff could be a lucrative and abundant job market.
What kinds of careers are there in poultry science?
From AgCareers.com’s Career Profiles, a Poultry Farm Worker and a Poultry Hatchery Manager are two common career paths in poultry science. Other career paths include an Animal Geneticist, Animal Biotechnologist, Meat Inspector, or an Embryologist.
You can search for careers in poultry production, poultry science, hatchery management, and more on AgCareers.com.
Where can you study Poultry Science?
Abundantly popular in the South, here is the list of schools that offer Poultry Science as a major:
- North Carolina State University
- Texas A&M
- University of Arkansas
- Auburn University
- Mississippi State University
- University of Georgia
- University of Wisconsin – Madison
- Tuskegee University
- University of North Georgia
- Delaware State University
- Stephen F. Austin State University
NC State and Texas A&M each offer two concentrations in the poultry science major. The first is an industry concentration, which requires preliminary science courses, followed by a focus in technology and business. This option is for students looking to enter the commercial poultry production or supply chain industries. The second is a technical concentration, which includes more advanced science courses, typically preparing students for graduate or veterinary school.
Is financial assistance available in this field?
If you need financial assistance to pay for higher education, there are special scholarship opportunities to explore in the agriculture and poultry science fields.
For example, the University of Georgia boasts a list of scholarships, specifically for those students that are a part of the Poultry Science major, within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Industry organizations are also a good resource to check for student funding. The American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP) offers an annual scholarship of $1,000.
Agriculture and poultry science are growing industries, which could lead to a fruitful career. To explore the hatchery technology field and to learn more about chicken breeding, visit ChickMaster.
 KRMG, These are the top 10 most popular college majors, 2016
2 US Poultry & Egg Association, Economic Data, 2015
3 Huffington Post, Chicken More Popular Than Beef In U.S. For First Time In 100 Years, 2014